The Christmas season is here. It's a great chance to warm up by glowing fires, eat baked Christmas goodies, and wait for Santa. All of us here at AIP safety hope that you get a chance to savor the holiday moments ahead.
And, we hope that you get a chance to enjoy every moment in a safe and healthy way. Here are a few tips to keep your house and family safe from fire and injury this holiday season.
O Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree is such a festive symbol. Putting up a tree in your home and decorating it with lights and ornaments is often a sign of the start of the Christmas season for most people. Here are a few tips to make sure this beautiful addition to your home is safe all through the season.
- Boughs so green. If you are getting a real tree, make sure that you choose a healthy, fresh tree. To test if a tree is fresh, grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger, and slide your fingers down the branch. Very few needles should come off in your hand. Make sure you keep your tree well watered once you set it up at home as well.
- Leaves are so unchanging. If you are purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
- Rocking around the Christmas tree. Make sure there is plenty of room around your Christmas tree so that it isn't a tripping or fire hazard. Place the tree away from household sources of heat, such as fireplaces, radiators, television sets, and vents.
- Deck the Halls. Pay attention to the decorations you put on the tree as well. Choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive.
- Do you see what I see? Keep an eye on your tree throughout the holiday season. Never leave your tree unattended while the lights are turned on
Who doesn't love to take a moment to enjoy the twinkling and blinking lights at this time of year? Indoors or outdoors, here are some tips to allow you and your family to safely enjoy the bright twinkling lights of the season.
- Merry and bright. Use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certified lights and inspect all of the strings of lights for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken or exposed wires before decorating.
- One and done. Never connect more than one extension cord together. Use a single cord that is long enough to reach your outlet without stretching, but not so long that it can get easily tangled.
- Winter wonderland. Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
More than figgy pudding
Mmmm.... we can smell the turkey and cookies and treats from here. This season is known to bring a variety of treats and meals along with it. We'd like to remind everyone that food safety is very important as well. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your loved ones don't get ill this Christmas.
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands thoroughly and often – before, during, and after food preparation to minimize bacterial contamination to keep your food safe.
- Keep it cool. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparation, as leaving food out too long at room temperature is one of the biggest holiday food safety dangers.
- Cook it completely. Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
If you have small children in your home this season, it's important to keep track of the safety requirement on toys and gifts as well. It doesn't hurt to remind parents and Santa to keep these things in mind before putting something under the tree.
- Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages. Toys that are too advanced could pose a safety hazard for younger children.
- Watch for pull toys with strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.
- Toys can pose a hazard to children given their size – if it is small enough to fit in a child’s mouth, the child can choke on it. Test the choking hazard potential of toys by checking to see if toys, and their pieces, fit through a cardboard toilet paper roll.
Mental health safety
Let's face it, some holiday-related stress can be expected. So, as the holiday pressure of visits, shopping and traditions all come together over the next few days how can you become one of those people who chuckles at adversity—silly snowstorm!—instead of crying into your eggnog?
- Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. Choose a few traditions to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. And if your turkey gets burned, just order a pizza. Your family is there for you, not the meal.
- Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances for a few hours or days until a more appropriate time for discussion.
- Reach out to people. If you are alone this holiday-by choice, by circumstance or because of a cancelled flight-reach out to people. Let your friends, colleagues or local volunteer organizations know that you are alone. If you’d prefer to be around people, but don’t want to intrude or visit, try heading to a movie for the afternoon. There are great movies released on Christmas Day and the theatres will have people there.
- Seek professional help if you need it. There are plenty of great services in Calgary to help with problems, find information or provide a person to talk to. If you are feeling particularly stressed out this season, our need some help, make the call. Here are a few organizations who are open throughout the holiday that can provide assistance:
Distress Centre Calgary 403-266-HELP(4357) 24 hour crisis line or 403-264-8336 (Teen Line)
Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-SUICIDE(784-2433)